NEWS

Methodist Church Schools Won’t Celebrate Other Religious Festivals

Methodist Church schools will not participate in non-Methodist  religious festivals like Diwali and Eid. The church’s education secretary, Waisake Ravatu, made the announcement yesterday at the close of the two-day
19 Aug 2017 11:00
Methodist Church Schools Won’t Celebrate Other Religious Festivals

Methodist Church schools will not participate in non-Methodist  religious festivals like Diwali and Eid.

The church’s education secretary, Waisake Ravatu, made the announcement yesterday at the close of the two-day Methodist Education Workshop at Dudley Methodist Church, Suva, yesterday.

Speaking to Fiji Sun Mr Ravatu said they would find time to write to the Ministry of Education and inform it about this.

“This is not the only issue, we have about ten other issues, and this is just one of them.

“We want the Ministry officials to know about the  policy that we are relaying down to our schools, and they need to be informed about it,” Mr Ravatu said.

He said that different faith- based organisations established their schools for  special purposes that they valued and these were tied to their belief system.

“I would definitely not class it as a discrimination. All other schools do that.

“I just don’t know why people are making a huge issue out of this when I think it’s a non-issue.”

He said they had carried out an awareness campaign, and usually the ministry provides pamphlets which explains the significance of the different holidays, like Diwali and Eid.

“But to actively participate in it goes against our belief. This is a matter of belief.

“We are not going to dilute our belief because of that.

“We appreciate this but we will talk about it and discuss it with our staff and children.”

He said the church needed to inform the ministry about the changes, because many times when things happened  the teachers were sort of harassed by the junior district officers.

So the two parties needed to understand, he added.

Permanent secretary for Education, Iowane Tiko, said our students were the important stakeholders here and they needed to understand and learn to live with other religious community.

He said according to the Constitution “we are all affected in the recognition of all religious important dates.”

He said the Methodist move “is not the usual practice.  Before we only close schools on school holidays,” Mr Tiko said.

He said all religious bodies should be tolerant of each other, “that’s all the ministry asked.”

Meanwhile, Mr Tiko said the ministry would look into the issue of church school heads to be Methodists.

Mr Tiko said: “We have a system in place where we will consult as we go along.

“The consultation door is open, and will always be open for all religious organisations.”

“School leadership is something that is important for religious denominations.

“Privatising the school is the last avenue, if the church insists on something that is not together with our expectations, like for instance if we have nominated a Methodist Principal to them, and they have rejected him.

“They come up with one of their own choices which doesn’t match the benchmark that we set.

“The ministry will then call them to privatise.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  lusiana.tuimaisala@fijisun.com.fj

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